Monday, May 14, 2012

Delusions, Part 1

    I don't know why I thought this would work - I had the thought that I could get some things done online while the babysitter/mothers helper was here, as long as I was in the same room with the girls...  What was I thinking?
    We've had a helper coming two days a week for a couple months now.  She is 11 years old and lives a few houses down the street, and the idea is that she can watch and play with the three little munchkins while I get some things done around the house.  But, so far, the girls will not stay with her...  She is able to keep Quinn occupied for the hour and a half that she's here, so at least that's one less child that I'm neglecting while I try to cook or clean or do anything else.  But, boy, would it be helpful if these two little girls would stay with her, even for a little while. 
     The second time she came, she was downstairs with all three kids, playing in the playroom.  I put the gate up at the steps and went upstairs, feeling this weight lifted from my shoulders, suddenly better able to breath and not feel so suffocated.  About 45 seconds later, both girls started freaking out at the bottom of the steps, hanging on the gate in hysterics; it was like little rats stuck in the belly of a sinking ship, desperate to get out (they're not little rats, they're so sweet, but still, they acted as if they were never going to see me again, like I'd left them in a torture chamber).  So, since I wasn't about to let an 11 year old deal with that stress that instantly makes ones blood boil, I gave in and brought them upstairs.  Didn't get a damn thing done that day... and it's been that way ever since.
      I had such high hopes for my 3 hours of productivity each week - I was going to paint various rooms of the house, clean the entire house once a week, maybe take a shower that didn't get cut short because of being needed elsewhere.  She's only 11, so I wouldn't ever leave the house, but there are so many projects I've been meaning to do since we moved here (August 2010), and my "To do" list is never ending; I just really thought I could feel like I'd made some progress. 
      But no, that hasn't happened yet.  The stranger anxiety should have passed by now (they know her from seeing her every week), the separation anxiety and clinginess is generally supposed to pass by 18 months (they're 19 months), but still no such luck. 
      Today, I really thought I could get this blog written in the hour and a half, but now I'm not even writing the one I had intended because I know my time is short.  As I write this, I am sitting cross-legged on the guest bed in the far side of the playroom (in our finished basement).  My laptop is on my lap, and all three kids and the helper are sitting on the same bed as I am, bouncing up and down, rolling around (well, the helpers not rolling, just the kids), Kelsey just climbed over my lap, and Sierra keeps taking my wireless mouse, and Quinn's trying to show me the boo boo he got three months ago when he stepped on a train (there's no mark anymore, no scar, he just likes showing me; I'm sure he just wants my attention)...  I feel so bad not playing with them when they clearly want my attention, and I'm just typing away, but they are supposed to be playing with Hannah, right?  I shouldn't have guilt over this, should I?
      I mean, really, I should have known I couldn't get a moments peace or get anything accomplished.  But I guess, I remain hopeful - but that's a good thing, right?  Hope...  I just have to keep trying, because I never know when it might finally work!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Mutterings that are My Days

    On many occasions, I've thought to myself that people would think I'm crazy if they could hear half the things that come out of my mouth on a daily basis.  Some things I say are mundane, routine instructions or reprimands; other things make me sound like my Mother (no offense, Mom!), or some, like I'm the guy from Clockwork Orange.  So, I wrote down some of the phrases I said the other day.
     It was last Thursday, the day started at 5:45 a.m., with Kelsey and Sierra up first, Quinn following around 7 (that's sleeping in for him!).  Quinn had school in the morning, and we also had a Parent-Teacher Conference, so afterward, I just played with the girls at home before heading back to pick Quinn up.  It was pouring down rain all that day, so in the afternoon, we played in the playroom and they "helped" me make dinner.  Here's a glimpse into my own wonderful little madness, always hectic, often sweet:


     Kelsey, did you actually just spit your apple into that toy?

     Hey, please don't put your finger in your diaper

     I'll be the mommy bear, you be the baby bear
     Take one more bite and you're done!

      Bless you.  Oh Sierra, you have boogies...

     Stop twirling your underpants and put your clothes on

     oh, jeez, you just stomped on my toe...

     Girls, get your toothbrushes out of the toilet...uh, garbage...gross

     Kelsey, leave your coat on

     Girls, stop ripping things down off the shelf!

     Quinn, we have to get your shoes on or we will be late for school

     Sierra know please eat your shoe, Sweetie
     Sierra, you didn't do a good job of holding your baby, now she's muddy, poor Baby

     Love you, Sweetie! have a good day, and be a good friend!

     He's mentioned two girls saying they "hate boys" and hate him...

     You're a bus you idiot

     "Ring around the rosie..."

     No, Honey, we don't rip something out of our sisters hands... Look at this book here and then you can trade

     Get off your sisters head

    Oh, Sierra, are you just dumping all the pieces out of the puzzle?

     Go on up, hold the railing;  No hitting, hitting hurts, You both have to hold the same side;  Keep going, leave the basket alone, go on up, watch your fingers, leave the cereal boxes alone...

     Time to go get Quinn - no please leave your shoes on, Sierra; Kelsey, your coat... Stop pulling those off the shelf... Stay here

      "Black coat, white shoes, black hat, Cadillac..."

       Quinn, did you meet caterpillars today?

       As soon as you finish your lunch, I will turn on Calliou...;  Good eating girls;  Sierra no spitting; 

      Kelsey, why are you crying?;

      Stop leaning back in yiur chair please; Quinn don't point that fork at her; please, don't rub eggs on the table; chew and swallow; Kelsey, you should not be turned around right now; too bad calliou is over, now you might miss Thomas too;

      Stop leaning back... Stop Kelsey's back there - time out!  You do not lean back on your chair because you can get hurt if you fall backwards, and you just pinned your sister too, time out!

      1...2...3... It's just the vacuum, Honey! 

     Quinn, please be gentle with her while I do this.  Quinn, don't push your sister.  Quinn...Stop...couch... You just knocked her off the couch!  Time Out!

     Time to go upstairs, Girls; hold the railing. 
     Girls, leave your brother alone.  I'm sorry, Honey, they just wanted to see your Valentines...

     ouch, watch the toe...again with the toe....

      Sleep well, Sierra.  Mommy loves you!  <Sigh>

      Sleep well, Kelsey.  Mommy loves you!

      "Strawberry shake, strawberry shake..."

      Winning is not everything, Honey

      Quinn, do not dip your butt in the toilet, that's gross, there are germies!

       Mommy's little Keltee; you're angry that you woke up, poor girlie

       Tickle Torture, tickle torture!  Kelsey needs to be tickled, too!

       Hi, Mommy's Beesa, such a good sleeper



        Cuddle bug Sierra

        Pretend the blankets are islands and try not to step on the floor

       Just Pounding on some chicken, what's up?

       So pa-ritty

       Hey, Mr. Berenstein Bears Forget Their Manners, what do you say?

       watch the toe...ugh, killing me...

       What kind of loonie doctor are you?  If you cut off my arm, I'll tickle you with the stump of my arm!

       Please don't make fingerprints with your barbecue sauce

       You said "BEAR".  So smart!

      "Figaro, figaro..."

       Honey, why are you yelling?

       Daddy's home, yay! 

      "...and Goodnight to the old lady whispering, Hush...."

      "...That's all there is, there isn't any more..."

      "...Round and round go the days and nights, Up and Down go the Sun, Moon, and Starlight..."

       Good night, sweet Sierra;  Good night, little Kelsey

       I Love you Quinn, Good night; YH, YS, and YI...

Mommy off duty


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Winning IS everything

     "Winning IS everything, Mommy!!", my 4-year old son growled at me tonight in a demonic voice before bursting into tears; he'd just lost a round of Curious George Memory game, and I tried to tell him something to the contrary. 

      We play games together everyday, when the babies are napping and again before his own bedtime - Snack Attack, Go Fish, Memory, Candy Land - sometimes more than 20 rounds of the same game in a row (I'm not even exaggerating).  Sometimes he even plays these games by himself, making up new rules, seeing how the game plays out each time.  He just loves to find out all the options of a game, see how many different directions it can go, how it is never ever the same, how every round presents new obstacles and opportunities.  Much like the world around him, but at least in these games, he can manipulate them to come out the way he wants them to.  Learning strategy is an important part of these games, and in the games that life throws at him, and I can see him making this connection everyday. 

       Whenever he's lost a round and has gotten upset I always tell him that doing something together is the most important part, that it's just nice to play the game together and have a good time, that winning is nice, but that it's not everything...  Lately, he's had enough of that song and dance, and gets vividly upset when I win.

        The other day, he lost a round of Go Fish, and proceeded to throw the cards at me because he was so angry.  Then, on the next round, I asked for the Sand Shark to match the one in my hand, he hesitated and wouldn't make eye contact, and answered "Nope, Go Fish".  I selected a new card, and on his next turn, he said "Do you have the Sand Shark?".  I explained that I knew he had it when I asked, which makes that cheating, which is not nice, and that I won't play anymore if he doesn't play fair.  Of course, I had to work hard at keeping a straight face, because this was clearly his first time cheating, but he wasn't smart enough yet to know how to not get caught.  It was a milestone, even if it wasn't one to be boasting about.

      Should I let him win so he doesn't get so upset?  Should I let him win so that he is happy and feels good about himself?  Or, should I let the game play out so we can learn how to handle those emotions, and feel even more genuinely good about a true win?  To me, winning is not everything.  To me, just being with him, spending time with him, watching him figure out how to strategize, seeing the wheels turning; these are the reasons I play.  And more importantly, just seeing him smile is what makes me feel like I've won.  That smile, that sweet little face....  I think I've answered my own question.